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If the global pandemic has taught us anything, it is not to take things for granted and be prepared for circumstances to change very quickly. Regarding Australian immigration, this has never proved more true with Australia's borders closed with little notice for most of 2020 and 2021.
Here at Bingham Migrations, we regularly support New Zealand Citizens residing in Australia with identifying and pursuing a visa pathway to Permanent Residency and eventually Citizenship.
All New Zealanders arriving in Australia on a New Zealand passport are automatically granted a temporary Special Category Visa (subclass 444) upon arrival that allows them to remain indefinitely. Many settle and build their lives here, not giving their immigration status in Australia a second thought.
We are often approached when a New Zealander encounters issues around education, social security payments, NDIS or disaster relief. They realise they may not be eligible for certain provisions due to their temporary visa status. Having children can also trigger a Kiwi to seek out-migration support and explore permanent residency.
Outlined below are four main pathways to Permanent Residence and Citizenship for New Zealanders residing in Australia. These are primarily centred around when you first arrived and when you settled here.
Visited Australia Pre September 1994
New Zealand Citizens who travelled to Australia for any reason before 1 September 1994 were regarded as 'exempt non-citizens' under Australian migration law and are now considered former permanent residents. If you visited Australia as a New Zealand citizen before this date, you might be eligible to have your permanent resident status reinstated.
Residing in Australia on 26 February 2001
You are an eligible New Zealand citizen, or protected SCV holder, if you:
Residing in Australia on or before 19 February 2016
In 2016 a new permanent residency pathway was created for Kiwis living in Australia. The general requirement to meet the visa criteria is:
If none of the options above applies to your circumstances, other family-related pathways and skilled visa options may still be applicable.
If you would like to discuss any of the above or have some further questions, please reach out. As you can see, the status of New Zealanders in Australia is up for review at regular intervals in the political cycle. For your peace of mind and the future stability of your family's situation, we strongly recommend obtaining permanent residency in Australia, where you have the opportunity.
Principal Registered Migration Agent
Aaron is a dual citizen of Australia and New Zealand and has a special focus on supporting New Zealanders residing in Australia with migration matters.